Longitudinal changes in the intake of vitamins and minerals of elderly Europeans. SENECA Investigators.Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jul; 50 Suppl 2:S77-85.EJ
To assess longitudinal changes in intake of vitamins and minerals in elderly Europeans.
Longitudinal study including the collection of dietary intake data in 1988/1989 and in 1993.
Baseline and follow-up data were collected from nine European towns: Belgium: Hamme (H/B); Denmark: Roskilde (R/DK); France: Haguenau (H/F) and Romans (R/F); Italy: Padua (P/I); the Netherlands: Culemborg (C/NL); Portugal: Vila Franca de Xira (V/P); Spain: Betanzos (B/E) and Switzerland: Yverdon (Y/CH). In four other towns dietary intake data were collected in 1993 only: Portugal: Coimbra (C/P); Poland: Marki (M/PL); Northern Ireland: Ballymoney-Limavady-Portstewart (BLP/NI/UK) and United States: Mansfield (Connecticut) (M/CT/USA).
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
Using standardized methods, data were collected from a random sample of 658 elderly men and 731 women born between 1913 and 1918. Dietary intake data were collected by a validated modified dietary history method.
A significant decrease in the median intake of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C or iron was observed in several towns and for most of these nutrients in H/B, R/DK, R/F and V/P. Over the 4-y follow-up period, the proportion of elderly people with nutrient intakes below the lowest European RDI's increased for various nutrients in most towns, whereas the nutrient density of the diet, especially for iron and vitamin C, decreased significantly only in a few towns. The proportion of elderly people taking nutrient supplements varied from less than 5% in H/B to 60% in R/DK.
The observed decrease in intake of some vitamins and minerals in most of the participating towns, indicates an increased risk for malnutrition in elderly Europeans.